Glum Giants plot strong stretch run after loss
Despite having a one-game lead in the NFC East with four to go,
the New York Giants may need to win out to make the playoffs
A frustrated Tom Coughlin made that assessment Tuesday, knowing
that the Giants’ 17-16 loss to the Washington Redskins Monday did
more than cut their division lead in half.
The defeat left them at a surprising 2-3 in the NFC East with
one division game left – vs. Philadelphia in the season finale. If
the Giants (7-5) finish tied with either Washington (6-6) or Dallas
(6-6), the second tiebreaker after head-to-head matchups is
The Giants split games with Dallas and Washington, and have
already lost to last-place Philadelphia.
The Cowboys and Redskins each already have three wins in the
division and they play each other again. So, one or both stands to
have a better division record than New York.
”I am looking at it one game at a time, knowing full well it’s
a four-game season and we have to win really every one of our
games,” Coughlin said. ”That’s how I look at it. I am going to be
aware of all the things you are talking about. But that is not
going to enter into my thinking.
”It’s going to be win the games that are presented, the one
that is right in front of you.”
The stretch run is not going to be easy, especially with the
defending Super Bowl champions having lost three of the last four,
including contests against Pittsburgh and Washington where they
blew fourth-quarter leads.
New Orleans (5-7) is on tap at MetLife Stadium on Sunday and
Saints quarterback Drew Brees has done a number on New York over
the past few seasons. After that, the Giants have road games at
Atlanta (11-1) and Baltimore (9-3) before returning home to face
Philadelphia in what might be embattled Eagles coach Andy Reid’s
On Monday, the Giants could have damaged the Redskins’ hopes and
sent a strong message to their rookie quarterback, Robert Griffin
III. Instead, Washington is alive and well in the division hunt
after New York committed nine penalties and played an all-around
ugly game that still had the coach annoyed 24 hours later.
”It was sloppy, careless play,” Coughlin said. ”Everyone
knows the rules, what you can and can’t get away with.”
The Giants didn’t get away with anything. The day-after laundry
– A false start on first down at the Redskins’ 23 on the opening
drive, which forced New York to settle for a Lawrence Tynes field
– An intentional grounding call against quarterback Eli Manning
on first down from the Washington 30 that forced Tynes to attempt a
43-yarder early in the second quarter. He missed.
– Backup offensive lineman Jim Cordle was flagged for two
holding calls on second-half kickoff returns, forcing New York to
start inside its 10-yard line.
– A holding penalty against tackle Will Beatty late in the
fourth quarter nullified a third-down pass to Martellus Bennett
that would have given New York a first down just past midfield. The
Giants punted and Washington ran out the clock.
– The Giants’ only second-half score was a Tynes’ field goal
after New York received a first down at the Washington 17. Two
drops and a 1-yard run preceded the kick.
”We felt we orchestrated in the right direction for a great
deal of the game, but we did not win the game,” Coughlin said.
”We didn’t get the ball back when we had to get it back. We didn’t
score when we had the ball in position. The penalties are a natural
thing that eat away at your gut. How in the world can a team with
something this important be as careless as we were?
”Those are the things that still eat away at me.”
The bottom line is the Giants did not take advantage of their
opportunities and they didn’t do enough in the second half to
finish off the Redskins, who have now won three straight games.
”It certainly would have been a great advantage for us to
win,” Coughlin said.
And there is injury on top of the insult. Tackle Sean Locklear,
who had started nine games, suffered a serious knee injury in the
second half that will require surgery. David Diehl, who hurt a
shoulder against Green Bay the week before, took over after the
veteran was carted off.
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